Biti vows to fight deportation in international courts; feels betrayed by Zambia

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By Staff Reporter

OPPOSITION leader Tendai Biti says he feels betrayed by Zambia which deported him to Zimbabwe after rejecting his claim for political asylum.

Biti was arrested at Chirundu Border Post as he tried to flee to Zambia fearing for his life following the violent aftermath of the July 30 elections.

He however, says he was abducted from Zambian authorities not at the border between the two countries as alleged by Zimbabwean prosecutors in court Friday.

“It is very sad and regrettable that the government of Zambia agreed to deport me back when my life was in danger,” he said.

“A nullity is a nullity. My deportation back to Zimbabwe is a nullity and nothing will justify a nullity,” he said while being led by his lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa before Harare magistrate Francis Mapfumo.

He continued, “I wish to take this issue to the highest level possible even to international courts so that this won’t happen to some people.

“I was never served with any deportation order. There was no notice to deport.”

Speaking after the court session during which he was glued to the witness stand for the entire day, Biti said Zambia and Zimbabwe should be made accountable for their actions.

“I think we have exposed the truth and I hope that Zambia and Zimbabwe can be held accountable for failing to protect people’s right.”

Biti said according to international immigration law, if he was not to get asylum in Zambia, the Lusaka should have given him passage to another country.

The former finance minister is accused of contravening the Electoral Act by allegedly declaring MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa winner of the presidential elections.

He however denies the charges arguing that Section 66 of the Constitution is superfluous in that the declaration would already have been made by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

“The results were announced by (ZEC by virtue of displaying V11 forms at polling stations, not by me,” he said.

“I’m not facing criminal charges. I’m facing political charges arising from the face that we took a different position from those in power in our country which now emerge to be tyrannical powers.”

However, prosecutor Justin Uladi insisted that Biti’s charges were “purely criminal” and as such there was no need for him to seek political asylum.

He said evidence would be produced showing that Biti was arrested on the Zimbabwean side of Chirundu Border Post and that was a fugitive.